Hours Spent Reading Around the World

Hours Spent Reading Around the World

I have been reading a lot these days, especially after sign-up for the 40 Book a Year challenge on GoodReads.

I should be done by the month of September and am looking to hitting 50 books this year. Thats almost a book a week, and I could not be happier.

This infographic also speaks volumes, I thought the Swedes are more voracious readers, but, looks like times are changing.

Net Neutrality or Why I have picked up Tor

The recent Net Neutrality debate has me scared.

The very notion that the internet (which has always been considered as a free medium) needs to be regulated and controlled by a select few gives me the creeps.

India has been always pro for regulation, and this has resulted in fewer scams, but take the Telecom bandwidth licensing issues for e.g. The whole reason why telecom companies are crying out murder against OTT (read the internet) services is this.

Continue reading Net Neutrality or Why I have picked up Tor

On Being Trolled and 66A

Everybody who is on the internet has probably heard of this term. Trolls or being trolled is fairly common. In fact there are sites such as 4chan where the sole purpose of the community is to troll on different activities.

Reddit is also one such community, where a lot of users are actively trolling and are being trolled. Being a long time lurker on Reddit, I used to read through multiple posts where fellow redditors would make hilarious comments (often to diffuse a situation). Funny, but at whose expense?

Continue reading On Being Trolled and 66A

Information markets in Third World Economies

One of the great things that attracts investor capital is the ability of third world countries to show double digit growth. This story of almost all developing nations mean a scope for investments for other organizations present world-wide. Various countries have different economic policies, such as the open policy by China to attract huge FDI, and the partially open economy by India which invites FDI but limits the amount which can be withdrawn.

Why is this story selling for the past 5 or so years?

The answer is simple. Third World nations represent an inefficient market. A place where the buyers and sellers do not have access to complete information about the transaction. Since there is hardly any organized sector in such markets, there is virtually no analysis done on the varied types of transactions. This absence of information creates an inefficiency in the market … the simple act of saving each and every market transaction and making it available to the public creates the huge value of wealth maximization for both the buyer and the seller.

Wealth Creation by Information Symmetry

Imagine a scenario where a seller wants to sell a book for five dollars, it’s slightly used but the book is not easily available in the market. But the seller does not know that … the seller implicitly assigns a value of 5 dollars and expects the same amount in return. Now if a buyer who values the book a lot more than that were to find about the book, then he will finish the transaction at five dollars (even if he were ready to pay more). So what just happened back there? A book was exchanged for a lesser amount than what it would have fetched. Had the seller known that it could have fetched more (if he had access to that information), then the seller would have generated more wealth by selling at a higher price.

Take a look at this scene from Pretty Woman, had Julia Roberts known that Richard Gere was willing to pay 4000 USD for the week, then she would not have settled on 3000 USD in the first place! This is the power of Information Symmetry!

Information Markets

So in developing countries such as Brazil, Tanzania and India, the one sure shot formula for wealth creation is by creating an information market and making it available to the general public. We can also refer to information markets as Free online Classifieds, a site where people can post information about their buying and selling requirements.

We wanted to sell our six year old car and used a similar service to get the highest price for a used car. Access to such an information market not only ensured that we got the highest bidder, but also reduced the transaction hassles for us.

Conclusion

Any information market (such as an online classified) brings the buyer and the seller on the same platform and ensures that the seller gets a higher price and the buyer gets a chance to purchase the same price at a lower cost.

An information market is hugely successful wherever the market is fragmented and does not have any organized player.

An information market also increases the reach of local organizations.

The political Ganesha festival

My home is on the intersection of a very busy main road (N. S. Phadke Marg). The lane which connects our society to the main road is often desolate and most of the year it lies in neglect. However, whenever you have a social festival such as Ganesha, Dahi Handi, Holi, etc, then this lane gets decorated and pandals are setup to give a different and lively look to the road.

Every year for Ganesh Chaturthi, we would have a pandal setup near the intersection and this would lead to a throng of visitors … good for the community, but irritating for the drivers trying to turn into the lane from the busy traffic signal. This year, there were two pandals instead of one. I decided to enquire about this, why would a community divide their resources for two different celebrations?

The Two Parties

Congress-BJP-Ganesha

Turns out that the local MLA of this area is a Shiv Sainik and was putting that over all the available hoardings during the festival. To match this the local Congress representative had his cronies setup another pandal with the Congress banners. Boom, you now have two pandals in a narrow lane.

I have not seen any of their decorations, however I am sure that there would be strong competition within both of them to outshine the other.

Interestingly, this has helped the local community instead of cause friction between the two parties. More people are involved in the local festivals, there is a constant presence of Police these days which reduces the traffic jams (although many would disagree on this point!).

So, what?

I see a lot of government resources being put to use. But atleast its not filling the pockets of corrupt people. The co-operation and co-ordination shown during this event is quite good to see … why cant this be done across the nation? At least that way we can stop this Congress, Anti-Congress … Modi, Anti-Modi … BJP, Anti-BJP.